Property Tax Reductions Based on Vacancy: Fire & Construction

Property Tax Appeal: Lack of Occupancy Due to Fire and ConstructionDid you know that it’s possible to get a property tax reduction if your home is vacant for an extended period of time?

It’s true, and you can also appeal based on a lack of occupancy if it happened within the last three years. Here’s how it works.

Multiple Scenarios for a Vacancy Appeal

Here are a few situations when your home could be over-assessed due to vacancy:

  • Vacancy during renovations
  • Vacancy to renovate following a fire or other casualty (e.g. flood or tornado damage)
  • Vacancy because of new construction (e.g. building a new home)
  • Vacancy if you rent your home and lose a tenant

When your home is vacant due to certain factors outside your control, the improvements should have no assessed value. In such situations, if your home is vacant for three months and the county assesses it at $200,000, the appropriate assessed value would be $150,000 due to the vacancy for 1/4 of the year, and you may be able to appeal your property taxes based on this basis.

Note: the value of the land upon which the home stands is unaffected by vacancy, and your property assessment is based on the value of both your home and the land.

Fire Damage Assessment Reduction

Last year, we obtained a property tax reduction in the amount of $10,931 for a family that was displaced from their home in 2015 due to a fire and subsequent renovations. Their home had been assessed at $46,705 but, since their home was vacant for about 10 months, we obtained an adjusted assessed value of $11,263.

The Cook County Assessor does not track fires or vacancy when calculating your property tax bill so, depending on how long you were displaced from your home, you could obtain a significant reduction in the case of a fire – but only if you appeal your property taxes.

New Construction Vacancy

We are working with a taxpayer that purchased vacant land and built a new home on it. The Cook County Assessor assessed the property at market value of $116,721 even though construction wasn’t complete as of the valuation date.

Only when construction is complete and local building department has issued a certificate of occupancy, should the property be occupied – and that is the earliest date that the property should be assessed as fully improved. If your property is fully assessed before the certificate of occupancy is issued, then you may have grounds for an appeal.

In this case, the assessed value of the home should be the value of the vacant land only until the certificate of occupancy is issued, and it required an appeal to reduce this taxpayer’s property tax burden. Our appeal is underway, so check back to see how much we save him.

Vacancy Property Tax Relief

Whether because of a fire, construction or other reason, if you’re unable to live in your home for a significant amount of time (at least a few months), then you should inquire about vacancy relief.

The best way to get property tax relief based on vacancy is to use an experienced service like Kensington Research & Recovery. After assessing your situation with our free property tax reduction consultation, we will provide you an estimate for how much we think you can have your next property tax bill reduced through an appeal.

You only pay if you get a reduction and once it’s applied – and your reduction could be based on vacancy as well as several other factors that could work in your favor, but you’ll only find out if you talk to us.

Get Your Free Property Tax Reduction Estimate

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